Autism Aid

By: Sahar El-Hodiri
By: Sahar El-Hodiri

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A new program in Wichita is making some dramatic improvements in children with autism. The program is helping them make big steps in developing their speech and motor skills.

The new program at Rainbows United is very structured. In just six months, tests show the kids have made at least a year's worth of progress. Macayla Davis used to be withdrawn. But that's changed since September, since Macayla started the structured classroom for autism at Rainbows United.

The children go from station to station, many times one on one, to work on speech and motor skills. Rainbows' autism expert Heidi Cromwell says, "We have children who come in and don't know how to use toys for their intended purpose, so our goal is to really teach them how to do the things they want and need to do as children on a daily basis."

They use pictures to communicate those wants and needs. Through repetition, Macayla and the other students imitate actions to learn new skills. Tests show the program is working.

Cromwell says, "Each of our kids made at a minimum of a year's worth of progress in that 6 month period giving the intensive intervention." The skills Macayla learns in this restricted environment will help her function in public schools and social settings and help her parents overcome their worst fear.

Macayla's mom Roxann Davis says, "The biggest thing was that she would never be able to learn to tell me that she loved me or that she'd never understand that we love her."

The program is one of many services Rainbows United offers to help children with or at risk for disabilities.

You can help support the program by coming to the Blarney Breakfast on Monday, March 17. Stop by Willie C's anytime between 6:00am and 10 a.m. The cost is $10 for adults, $3 for children. The money raised goes to Rainbows United.

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